I have this shrub in my garden, and I was under the impression that it was a native plant, that one of Canada's garden mavens recommended because of its usefulness and the fact that it attracts birds and wildlife with its flowers and its edible berries. It has really boring flowers, but they develop into pretty star shaped clusters of little purplish red berries...
You see where this is going, don't you?
I ate one.
And AFTERWARDS thought, you know what, I should check and see if this berry is in fact edible.
I only got a bit more alarmed when I looked it up in the book by the Canadian garden maven and it wasn't actually the shrub she recommended.
Then it took me a while to track it down, and the first place I looked didn't mention anything about the berries being edible.
But I'm still alive, and you will all be very glad to hear that I am not going to drop dead or even get sick or anything. I managed to find it on the internet, and it's Leycesteria Formosa, a native of Asia, and although the berries are not considered a gourmet item they are edible. Apparently some varieties have a chili-like burning quality. Mine doesn't. In fact it was quite tasty, the flavour resembling, as one internet source puts it, treacle.
Interestingly, there is a yellow variety, known as Pheasantberry, which appears in the Canadian native plant registry, so maybe I wasn't completely wrong about it being a native plant.
And my friendly garden hummingbird loves it.
So there you go.